A charming local French bistro. Every neighborhood should have one! This one, Paname, is at Second Avenue and 57th Street. It’s casual, inviting, with Art Nouveau on the walls. There’s a 10-foot high ceiling, wood tables with tablecloths, brown leather banquettes and classic wood bistro chairs. Picture windows overlook Second Avenue.

As you sit down and gaze around at the Art Nouveau paintings, mirrors and sconces, some interesting amuse bouches arrive, one a fresh anchovy and another porcini avocado couli, a mushroom concoction. Present from Chef Bernard Ros.

But to the menu!

I loved the starter octopus, perfect, soft, tender, with a subtle sauce. It is so rare to get octopus that is soft and succulent, not rubbery! It was the highlight of appetizers.

Then for the main, Bouillabaisse, don’t miss this. Not often on bistro menus. This one is rich, a pièce de résistance. With mussels, shrimp and codfish. I would come here just for this. And the octopus!

We wanted to try another fish dish, but sauteed cod à la niçoise with tomato fondant was bland, not interesting. Alas, I am usually disappointed in cod.

This was going to be a feast! But note, we shared smaller portions. Because next came boeuf bourguignon, the classic French dish. It was mouth-watering tasty (sorry for the cliché) and so soft, we didn’t need a knife. For added flourish, flower buds were made out of the beef.

About the wines: the Muscadet was excellent. I liked the Sancerre and a tablemate preferred the Sauvignon Blanc. A Pinot Blanc was nice, subtle.

For the reds, Malbec was rich and fruity. The Côte de Rhone was stronger, less subtle, but I liked it. It was a very good wine-by-the-glass selection. In fact, if you are in this upper east side neighborhood, this warm, appealing bistro has a lot you will like.

Thanks to the chef, Bernard Ros!

If you go

Lunch: 12 to 3 pm, mon.-fri.
Dinner:  5 to 11 mon.-sun.
Brunch: 12 to 3pm, sat.-sun.
Happy hour 12 to 7 at the bar daily, $7 wines, and they are big glasses.

lunch (entrées):  $14 – $26
2-course prix fixe lunch menu: $23
3-course prix fixe lunch menu: $26
dinner (entrées): $23 – $29
3-course prix fixe dinner menu: $39
brunch: 3-course prix fixe brunch menu (with mimosa or bloody mary and coffee) $26 (sat.-sun.)

Paname
1068 Second Avenue (Between 56th and 57th Streets)
New York, NY 10022
(212) 207-3737

Photos by Lucy Komisar